10 Questions with ... Lynn Hernandez
May 4, 2010
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Started radio at University of Findlay, WLFC in 1987. Worked part-time at a couple different commercial stations in Ohio before graduating with a BA in Communications at U. of Findlay and moving to Austin. First full-time gig was at KROX, Austin in the mid-'90s. Then worked at Star System, voicetracking many stations across the country with Don Cristi as OM. Then Ayo and Duane Doherty gave me a chance in Dallas, so moved up there to be on KDGE. My first week there was 9/11 week. Had a great time in Dallas at KDGE, KZPS and KEGL. A highlight was being a judge for Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader tryouts. Giggidy ... Then DC hired me to do middays on KMOD five years ago.
1) Early influences?
WIOT, Toledo and WTUE, Dayton. Jeff & Mark the Dawnbusters on 'IOT were hilarious. On 'TUE I remember hearing The B-Man, John Beaulio and Marshall Philips and how cool I thought they were.
2) What led you to a career in radio?
I was a marketing major at U. of Findlay. I wanted to be a marketing rep for Marathon Oil Company because in Findlay anyone working for Marathon lived on the nice side of the tracks. While in Psych 101, the guy sitting next to me was wearing a Rush concert shirt. He was at the same concert I was the night before. We hadn't talked all semester, but because we were both Rush Heads we became best friends. He was a DJ at the college station and got me into it; I became Sports Director, News Director then General Manager before graduating in 1992.
3) What makes your station or market unique? How does this compare to other markets or stations you have worked at?
Tulsa and Austin are similar in that we don't have any pro sports. (WNBA doesn't count) So college sports is where it's at. Tulsa, like Austin (although not to the same degree), has a very rich music history and continues to thrive. A major benefit to Tulsa now is BOK Center. It's our 18,000-seat venue downtown that is only a year old. We just had a sold-out Nickleback/Breaking Benjamin/Shinedown/Sick Puppies show over the weekend. Since it sold out, the tickets and meet-&-greet passes we had were quite valuable and made for some good forced listening for the past few weeks. We had a concert pre-party where Sick Puppies came and hung out with us as we gave away our last pair of tickets, meet-&-greets and all that. It was a fun party on the patio and Sick Puppies couldn't have been cooler to our listeners. Thanks, Tony Bracy at Virgin Records!
4) Tell us what music we would find on your car or home CD player (or turntable) right now and what is it you enjoy about that particular selection?
New SLASH CD! The guest players on it are impressive but really it's just that Slash is such an amazing guitarist. He gets such a killer tone from that Gibson Sunburst! Can't wait to see him live again.
5) Please describe the best or worst promotion you've ever been part of?
I will tell you something KMOD does well that I've not seen done anywhere and that's have all on-air qualifiers show up at a Happy Hour to win the grand prize. We will have a sounder and get caller #5 like a lot of other stations. But we also tell the qualifiers they have to attend a Happy Hour along with all the other qualifiers to win the grand prize. For a new Harley or concert-tickets-for-a-year, our qualifiers are happy to come hang with us at a bar. The appearance is sold, so the station makes money ... and the bar client is very happy to have 200 beer drinkers show up and spend money. And we don't just have everyone fill out a reg card and then draw a name at the end. That's boring and lame. Our PD always comes up with a very interactive/funny way to give away the prize so our winners have fun no matter what. The client loves it and it's great for KMOD staff (AEs, admin support, everyone comes out for these events because they are so much fun) to interact with listeners.
6) What is the most rewarding promotion or activity your station has ever been involved with to benefit the community or a charity?
I am always eager to help out a local charity called Cancer Sucks. The founder is more of a biker/tattoo'd kind of guy than a stuffy suit who sits on a board somewhere in some other part of the country. Rick Horton is the founder of Cancer Sucks. He started is because his mother passed away from cancer. His fundraisers consist of poker runs and car/bike shows, which is right up our alley so it's a great fit for KMOD. Plus, my brother Roy passed away from cancer a year ago so as you can imagine I know first hand how horrible this disease is and hope a cure is found soon. Please go to www.cancersucks.com and do what you can.
7) What are your three favorite artists or songs of this year?
Well, it's great to see some local talent get noticed nationally like Taddy Porter and Shaman's Harvest. The latter is actually from Missouri but close enough for us when the song "Dragonfly" is so strong. The first time I heard it in my car on CD, I must have played it three times in a row cranked! The first time I heard "Crash" from Cavo, I was a big fan and hoped it would go #1. Cavo, also a band from Missouri, we started playing on DOMK, which is our local/independent show Friday nights at 11 hosted by our afternoon guy and promo guy, who is in a few bands locally.
8) How do you keep tabs on the competition? When your competition attacks you on the air, how do you react?
We don't care what they say about us. And no, we don't retaliate. It's just sad the so-called "Alternative" station is playing The Doors, AC/DC and Metallica. I know Metallica has been played on Alternative stations for the past five years, but I just don't agree with the strategy.
9) If you are voicetracking shifts or syndicating for stations outside of your market, how do you get familiar with that marketplace/community?
I was fortunate to be one of the first voicetrackers with Don Cristi at Star System in Austin. We had an awesome group of jocks who were innovative and used the Internet extensively. Any station I voicetracked within a few hundred miles, I tried to make a market visit during a big station event or concert in town. As soon as Paul Kriegler hired me to voicetrack The Buzz in Atlanta, I booked a flight to come to town for the big Linkin Park/Hoobastank show at CNN Center. I made it a point to hit the club districts and do as much sightseeing as possible. And I took notes and pictures of myself hanging out in Buckhead and other places to put on the website. When I voicetracked Mother 96-1 in Coloradio Springs, I visited there a couple times. I would even call some of the bars we hung out at while I was there and would put the hot waitresses on the air for bits after I left town.
10) As an air talent. how has industry consolidation helped or hurt you? What effect has industry consolidation had on the way you program your station?
I was fortunate to be in Austin as Star System was developing voicetracking. I was one of those jocks who replaced lots of live bodies. I never took it for granted. I knew there were good, hard-working people losing their gigs, so I tried my best every day to sound timely and local on my stations. I also communicated with my PDs as much as possible to make sure they were happy with the product they were getting from me. And now as technology often does, Premium Choice is a new way to import talent so it's now hard to find a voicetracking gig.
a) Favorite artist you have met?
Bret Michaels ... get well, Bret! Also I'm surprised Jared Leto had such a bad rep. I've interviewed him twice and the last time was only a couple weeks ago. HE'S A VERY COOL GUY! George Thorogood on the other hand ... douchebag.
b) What has been the station's biggest accomplishment?
Just staying alive for 35 years is a big accomplishment for any station; not many Rock stations in the country can say that and have never changed format. KMOD may have moved a bit within the Rock genre, but it's always been positioned as a Rock station. KMOD never flipped to Oldies or La Preciosa, then came back to Rock. It's not only been a Rock station for 35 years, but still gets top 3 ratings every book.
c) What type of features do you run on the station?
I'll just speak for my show, middays. The major appeal of middays on KMOD and the reason I have had top ratings for almost five years (my fifth year anniversary is June 20th) is my request hour at noon. I call it KMOD's All-Request Drive-Thru Lunch. The freedom DC gives me of what to play is refreshing. He schedules two currents each hour and the rest is all up to me. Well, up to the request but since I can get as many as 75 requests a day it's up to me which of those to fit in the hour.
I know in my head what I have played each day and try to play an hour of cohesive flow that includes new and old songs. Also if it's a current try to look ahead to see if DC has it scheduled. If so I go to another request. Sometimes it doesn't always work perfectly but as DC has said numerous times, one reason the DTL works so well is because it does not follow the same "radio rules" that the rest of the day does which is one reason why listeners are drawn to it. I also incorporate good, concise phoners that includes their name/where they are from, imaging (ie, the bed I use is a car idle as if someone is sitting in their car in the drive thru "placing their order" instead of "making a request." I also use movie/TV bits relating to food/restaurants like on Family Guy when Brian says: "Anyone wanna taste my smoked meatlog?")
It's a very interactive show that includes lots of "Wow-Factor" w/deep cuts along with currents.
Another specialty show I do is called KMOD's Ratt Poison. As you can guess it's an hour of '80s Hair Bands. It's on Saturday night at 11, which is perfect beer drinking time for feel good flashback music like this. This past Saturday night I featured numerous songs from Poison/Bret Michaels and played pieces of some of the previous interviews I've had with him. Last Spring the show had a 30 share. Yeah, it pretty much rocks.
d) Who is your best friend in the business?
I have many friends in the biz all over the country and some who are no longer in the biz because of this damn recession the last few years, but I'd have to say L.A. Lloyd at Cox's 99.5 KISS in San Antonio. Lloyd was the first APD/MD at KROX (Emmis/Austin). I was the first overnighter/promotions dude. We became such good friends; he let me crash on his futon in his loft in downtown Austin for two years. I even followed L.A. to Star System as voicetracking became more prominent and began hiring more jocks. That is how I ended up meeting and eventually working for Don Cristi, who I work for again here at KMOD. NEVER BURN A BRIDGE! Once Star System was blown up we went our separate ways; he to San Antonio, me to Dallas then Tulsa. However still work together with L.A. Lloyd's Rock 30 with KMOD is an affiliate. (what up, L.A.! Let's go tubing again this summer down the Quadelupe!)